NHMRC Ideas Grants

NHMRC Ideas Grants




NHMRC has allocated an additional $7 million to this round to support innovative dementia research projects led by early to mid-career investigators

Dementia Research Dementia research is a priority research area for NHMRC. More than 450,000 Australians are living with dementia and it is Australia's second leading cause of death. Innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of dementia are essential for Australia's social and economic wellbeing. As outlined in the 2019 Strategic Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation, with innovations in modern neuroscience research, it has become possible to explore the complexity of the brain more fully using novel, high precision approaches, such as gene editing, stem cell models and whole genome analysis. New imaging technologies and data capabilities are bringing further innovations to the field, revolutionising research in neurodegeneration. Despite this, discovering treatments for dementia requires a much deeper understanding of the biology of how dementia develops than currently available. The Ideas Grants 2023 grant opportunity includes an additional allocation of $7 million, which is available to support dementia research led by early to mid-career investigators. This additional priority funding aims to encourage highly innovative research and to retain, and continue to build, Australia’s dementia research capacity, particularly early to mid-career researchers, following the Australian Government’s $200 million Boosting Dementia Research Initiative and other dementia specific opportunities made available by NHMRC. Applications will be eligible to be considered for this additional dementia specific funding if:

* the application satisfies all Ideas Grants 2023 eligibility criteria (see Section 4 (GUIDELINES) for more detail)

* the application is submitted by an early to mid-career researcher (less than or equal to 10 years post-PhD) as CIA (applicable career disruptions must be detailed within the applicant’s Sapphire profile)

* the applicant selects the relevant tick box within the Sapphire online application form declaring they wish to be considered for dementia-specific funding (see section 6.2 of Appendix E (GUIDELINES))

* the proposed research advances the field of research in any of the recognised forms of dementia.

Changes to DVCR Co-Funding
For NHMRC grants applicants will now be required to submit a formal DVCR Co-funding request. The formal DVCR Co-funding request replaces the previous support of the Strategic Research Fund (SRF), which was managed directly between your Faculty Research Office and the DVCR Office and was not directly visible to academics as internal co-funding for their successful grants.

The DVCR Co-funding is to support MQ researchers to successfully complete their proposed NHMRC projects by providing up to 20% co-funding on funds to remain at Macquarie. The goal is for the DVCR Co-funding is to facilitate MQ applicants in providing a ‘top-up’ of NHMRC salary costs (PSP’s), which are lower than MQ equivalent salary rates.

These changes align the principles of DVCR Co-funding with other external funding schemes and assist the University in rationalising the allocation of internal funding used to leverage competitive, external funding opportunities.  As Macquarie researchers continue to excel in the NHMRC funding scheme, we need to find a mechanism to ensure all successful NHMRC grants can be supported.  As context, since 2015, our application volume for NHMRC funding has nearly doubled year on year. We know that health and medical researchers at Macquarie will be more active than ever in the coming years in applying for NHMRC funding to support their research, hence the need to make changes to meet the growing volume of awards.


The objective of the Ideas Grant scheme is to support innovative research projects addressing a specific question(s). The expected outcomes are:

  • innovative and creative research
  • funding of researchers at all career stages, and
  • funding any area of health and medical research from discovery to implementation.

The scheme will provide particular opportunities for early and mid-career researchers. It is expected that the CIA will have the scientific leadership and skills to achieve the proposed project aims.

An Ideas Grant can be requested for between one and five years depending on the proposal.

Assessment Criteria

Applications for Ideas Grants 2019 are assessed by peers on the extent to which the application meets the scheme objectives. Applications will be assessed against the Assessment Criteria listed below.

  • Research Quality (35%)
  • Innovation and Creativity (25%)
  • Significance (20%), and
  • Capability (20%).

Research Quality: NHMRC defines ‘Research Quality’ for the Ideas Grant scheme as the quality of the project aims and the proposed research plan.

Innovation and Creativity: NHMRC defines ‘Innovation and Creativity’ for the Ideas Grant scheme as health and medical research that seeks to challenge and shift current paradigms and/or have a major impact on a health research area through one or more studies that creatively:

  • develop or use novel research concepts, approaches, methodologies, technologies or interventions
  • propose a reinterpretation, refinement, improvement or new application of existing theoretical concepts, approaches, methodologies, technologies or interventions, or
  • integrate and adapt concepts, approaches, methodologies, technologies or interventions from other research fields or disciplines for a new purpose or in a new way.

Significance: NHMRC defines ‘Significance’ for the Ideas Grant scheme as the extent to which the outcomes and outputs will result in advancements to the research or health area.

Capability: NHMRC defines ‘Capability’ for the Ideas Grant scheme as the appropriateness of the applicant team and their expertise, the resources and access to additional personnel necessary to achieve the project aims. Capability is not an assessment of traditional track record elements, such as number of publications, grants held, or conference invitations. The CIA must demonstrate their ability to lead the project, including managing the project’s resources, personnel, budget and administrative requirements, in order to execute the project. Associate Investigators (AIs) can be included to strengthen the overall technical capability of the team (e.g. specialists such as statisticians), but they must not be essential for the leadership of the project. Consideration should also be given to the gender balance and development of new researchers within the applicant team.


The provisional funding allocation for the Ideas Grants 2020 up to $250 million. NHMRC’s Research Committee annually reviews and recommends indicative budget amounts to be awarded across individual funding schemes.

The amount of funding for an Ideas Grant will be based on assessment of the requested budget. Applications must clearly justify the requested duration and budget and how they will support the proposed outcomes of the research. Peer Reviewers will consider this information and may reduce the duration and/or budget to ensure the research aims and objectives can be achieved while ensuring value with money.

Key Dates

For applications submitted in 2023:

Please note that our grant review processes have changed. Strategic reviews are optional, while compliance and eligibility checks are mandatory.

If you wish to receive a strategic review of your NHMRC application, you must book via the online booking calendar.

Compliance and eligibility reviews for your NHMRC application is mandatory and you must book via the online booking calendar.

There are sufficient booking times available for all applicants, but we recommend booking early to ensure you have an ample choice of dates.

These are estimated dates from previous NHMRC rounds but are subject to change

  • NHMRC opening date in Sapphire: 8 March 2023
  • Strategic review (optional): 3 to 11 April 2023, select your date and time in the strategic booking calendar
  • NHMRC minimum data deadline: 5 April 2023
  • Compliance and Eligibility check (mandatory): 17 to 21 April 2023, select your date and time in the compliance and eligibility booking calendar. By the date and time you select you must also have a penultimate draft of your application in Sapphire and DVCR Co-Funding requests must be submitted via Pure.
  • Applicant submits final application in Sapphire: 11:59 pm Sunday 30 April 2023
  • Research Services submission to NHMRC: Wednesday 3 May 2023
  • Outcomes expected: November 2023

Note: NHMRC locates all their Scheme documentation in GrantConnect. You will be required to set-up a username and password to access.

Notification Of Intent (NOI)
Complete a Notification of Intent to inform your Faculty and the University Research Services teams of your intention to submit an application. After completing this NOI, you will be provided with regular updates about your funding scheme and sent valuable resources that will assist you in developing a highly competitive research grant application.

NHMRC Information
Ideas Grants Guidelines - GO6133
Funding Partners
Ideas Grant Proposal Template
Check Your Eligibility

MQ Resources  
Ideas Grant Toolkit (updated 2023)
NEW TOOL - Grant Proposal Guide
2023 Ideas Grant Budget Calculator
MQ Salary Rates, including on-costs (for proposals submitted in 2023)
MQ Salary Rates, including on-costs (for proposals submitted in 2024)
ATO Per-Diems 2023-2024
Pure Research Management System
MQ Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Creating a PURE Record 
NHMRC DVCR Co-Funding  Request Form

Cancer Funding Information
Cancer Australia PdCCRS - Submit to Cancer Australia NSW on 10/05/2023
Cancer Council NSW - Submit to Cancer Council NSW on 17/05/2023

If you are applying for Cancer Council and/or Cancer Australia, your application forms will be reviewed at the same time as your NHMRC Ideas Grant. You must submit both at the same date and time of your booking calendar, however you MUST have a separate PURE record for NHMRC Ideas, Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Australia.  

These are built into Sapphire. No need to have separate certifications from CI's and AI's.



NHMRC Ideas Grants - Developing your application 
This workshop will provide advice on how to approach your NHMRC Ideas Grant as well as highlight the key changes from last round.
Date: Monday 14 March 2022
Time: 11:00 - 12:30
Location: https://macquarie.zoom.us/j/82343580162
Speaker: Courtney Bendall (Research Services)
RECORDING [Microsoft Stream] 

Introduction to the NHMRC Ideas Grant Funding Scheme
This workshop will provide general background information on the NHMRC Ideas Grant funding scheme. Researchers who have not applied for NHMRC funding in the past, in particular the new schemes, will benefit and are strongly encouraged to attend. The workshop will cover  the application process and structure, assessment process, eligibility and research support services available to applicants.
Date: Thursday 28 November 2019
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Room 801, Level 8, 12 Wally’s Walk
Speaker: Courtney Bendall (Research Services)
RECORDING [Microsoft Stream] 

NHMRC Ideas Grant Funding Scheme
This workshop will walk through the Ideas Grant application. From the NHMRC Grants Management System, to the Research Proposal, including the Innovation and Creativity Statement, Significance Statement and Feasibility Statement.  
Date: Thursday 12 March 2020
Time: 12:30 – 13:30
Location: Room 801, Level 8, 12 Wally’s Walk
Speaker: Courtney Bendall (Research Services)
RECORDING [Microsoft Stream] 

Building your Budget for the NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohorts Studies (CTCS) Grant and Ideas Grant Schemes
This workshop will describe NHMRC budgetary requirements. Advice will then be provided on how to build your budget and how to justify your funding requests.
Speaker: Courtney Bendall (Research Services)
RECORDING [Microsoft Stream] 


Grant Development Team
Research Services
Ph: +61 2 9850 4745

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